B.C. Ferries workers walk off job

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VANCOUVER, B.C. — Ferry service in B.C. was disrupted yesterday as B.C. Ferries employees walked off the job in response to an ongoing contract dispute with B.C. Ferry Services.

Employees with the Horseshoe Bay-Nanaimo participated in what their union called a safety study session while B.C. Ferry Services said it was a wildcat strike.

“What it is, is an emergency safety meeting that’s been convened by the ships’ officers component of our union,” B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers Union spokesman, Dan Rowe told local media. “They are deeply concerned by ongoing safety issues that have been ignored by our employer.”

On the other hand, B.C. Ferries president, David Hahn, said “Clearly it was an illegal job action. It had nothing to do with safety. We wouldn’t be able to sail those vessels without the approval of Transport Canada, who has cleared these vessels."

Earlier this month, the B.C. Trucking Association (BCTA) voiced concern about the prospect of a B.C. Ferries strike. The BCTA called upon the provincial government to deem at least part of the ferry service as an essential service, as was the case last time there was a strike at the ferry corporation.

Ferry workers have given their union a 97 per cent strike mandate.

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